Posted in reviews

Hell! No Saints in Paradise — Book Review

Author: A.K. Asif

Publisher: Harper Collins

Blurb:

2050, New York. In the aftermath of a gruelling spiritual cleansing quest, Ismael, a Pakistani-American student, enters into an alliance with spiritual beings who send him on a perilous journey of self-discovery. A non-believer, Ismael must return to Pakistan, now in the grip of a brutal fundamentalist government, and gain the trust of his estranged father, a prominent extremist in the Caliphate. To accomplish this, he must pose as a true believer. Will he survive long enough to infiltrate his father’s inner sanctum and complete his mission? Hell! No Saints in Paradise is both biting satire and allegory that takes urban fantasy to dizzying heights.

Review:

I am out words to describe how I felt about this book. It’s crazy, weird, fantastical, futuristic but yet is connected to the present scenario of religious fanaticism that we’re seeing around us.

Faith is good but blind faith can be catastrophic. It’s ok to believe in God, afterlife, Heaven and Hell. But there’s no point in killing one another or blindly following what somebody says in the name of God worshipping.

Our religions are so dangerously misinterpreted from what the founding fathers actually conceptualized and that’s what needs to be put forth in front of the followers.

This book has wonderfully highlighted that in the crazy, wild futuristic, religiously fanatic Pakistan backdrop which I fear might be the case in India as well in the future if we don’t realise our follies in time.

The story was beautifully build-up and the consistency was deftly maintained till the ending with suspense and twists and turns. This book is, according to my judgement, is more of plot-driven rather than character-driven.

A very insightful, enlightening journey that Ismael had been pushed into to transient from being an atheist to a believer to ultimately a Knower.

I hope everyone reads this book and takes away the message. More than being an atheist or a believer, the world will be a better place if everyone are “knowers”.

I’ve been looking for good books written by Pakistani authors and I’m glad I came across this book.

Rating: 4.5/5 🌟

P.S. I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the publisher and Writers Melon.

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Posted in reviews

Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar — Book Review

Author: Kochery C. Shibu

Publisher: Niyogi Books

Pages: 284

Blurb:

A hydro power project in the remote Himalayas.
Three people brought together by fate. Nanda, an engineer from Kerala at the dam construction site hiding from his past, from the law, torn between the love of his dear ones and the traditional kalari code of revenge.
Khusru, a boy displaced from his native village in Kashmir, a gambit in the terror plot threatening to blow up the dam, working as a labour at the site.
Rekha, a Kathak dancer in heart, a doctor by profession, arrives at the campsite as the consort of Khusru.
A village that accepts the dictates of modernity with a heavy heart, its population steeped in superstitions and religious beliefs.
All throng the camp site like moths to a flame. Some escape untouched,successful; some miss a step and perish.
Each has a story to tell and a dream to realize. The fury of nature and hardship of project life has no mercy for the weak and time for the dead.
Like an eternal spectator the Dhauladhar watches as men risk their limb and life in their quest to full fill their dreams.

Review:

This book is quite simple. Nothing wow or mind boggling in it. But its simplicity in language and approach is its USP. The story is about life and decisions humans are often forced to take driven by circumstances. The back stories are interesting of how the central characters reach Dhauladhar. Some back stories could be skipped, those characters didn’t have much importance, but they’re nonetheless interesting. However, too many flashbacks on too many characters from way different cultures can be overbearing for the readers . Then there was lengthy descriptions of the dam construction which will be of interest to a limited crowd, others might find it difficult to get the picture. But overall the book is well researched, well taken care of. But the main story if you extract out was quite short, the details lengthened the book. The usage of local language gives the various personal accounts a more personal, familiar touch. I would have appreciated a little faster pace and little more substance in the central storyline.

Rating: 3.8/5

P.S. I had received the book from the Author in exchange for an honest review. Thank You Mr. Shibu

Posted in book tour, Cover Reveal

New Cover Reveal: Dharmayoddha Kalki— Avatar of Vishnu

Dharmayoddha Kalki: Avatar of Vishnu by Kevin Missal

New Cover Reveal

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Kalki has been called “A Mythological phenomeon” by Sunday Guardian. It has become a National Bestseller and been taken up by Fingerprint Publishing. The second edition releases soon.

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Whenever there is a decline in righteousness and an upsurge in unrighteousness, at that time, I take birth again.

– LORD GOVIND.

Born in the quiet village of Shambala, Kalki Hari, son of Vishnuyath and Sumati, has no idea about his heritage until he is pitted against tragedies and battles.

Whisked into the province of Keekatpur, which is under the fist of Lord Kali, Kalki sees the ignominy of death trumping life all around him. He learns that he has been born to cleanse the world he lives in, for which he must journey to the North and learn the ways of Lord Vishnu’s Avatar; from an immortal who wields an axe.

But trapped in the midst of betrayals, political intrigue and forces that seek to decimate him, will he be able to follow his destiny before the Kaliyug begins?

Amazon

Goodreads

About The Author

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Kevin Missal is a 21 year old graduate from St. Stephen’s College. He has recently released his first book of the Kalki trilogy- Dharmayoddha Kalki: Avatar of Vishnu which has garnered critical praise from the likes of Millennium Post, Sunday Guardian who termed it as “this year’s mythological phenomenon”. He has sold more than 5,000 copies in two weeks. He is also the co-owner and co-founder of Kalamos Literary Services.

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Posted in reviews

Going all in — Book review

Blurb

Three mismatched suburban couples, Steve and Katie, Marty and Erin, and Scarlett and C. Thomas, have been neighbors and friends for years. During a pummeling Connecticut Nor’Easter, the members of the bored triptych engage in a friendly game of Texas Hold’em in front of a fire and over more than a few bottles of Merlot. The impromptu get-together eventually leads to the institution of alcohol-driven, bi-weekly poker nights.

One evening on a lark, someone suggests an alternate payout – instead of pocket change, the winner may choose a player (other than his or her spouse) with whom to spend the night. The proposition takes shape, but complications arise as these things will.

All too quickly, friendships are strained and relationships begin to crumble. Lies are told, truths are exposed, and feelings are hurt. In the end, can anyone bear the weight of this wanton self-indulgence? They are six fully consenting adults, and after all, it’s only a game. Or is it?

Review

This wasn’t my type of a book. The prologue and the climax were interesting, the story idea about dysfunctional relationships among the affluent class was good. But the execution couldn’t impress me. There were many unnecessary drags, not so required sub-episodes.

The book may be good but it’s not what interests me, it started off being a mysterious story but then it took an erotica turn and that’s a genre I generally avoid. So that’s why I’m not that happy with the book. If you are into reading about complicated relationship, human tendencies and some erotica then this might be for you.

My Rating : 3/5 🌟

P.S. I received the e-book in exchange for an honest review and this is my blatantly honest review for this book.

Posted in book tour

The Fire Chronicles Book Tour- Guest Post by Atlanta Bushnell

Fictional siblings and why they are important to me

My favourite part of any book are the characters and their own personal journeys, whatever they may be. But I did find one thing missing in a lot of teenage and young adult books: Siblings. More accurately, siblings that work together. I found in a lot of the dystopian, sci-fi and fantasy books there was a distinct lack of siblings that actually get along and help each other. There are a few out there, just not many I had stumbled upon (if you know of any good ones please let me know!). A lot of the time they are on opposite sides or many protagonists didn’t have any siblings and that made me sad. I have siblings, who I love dearly, and so naturally my series revolves around family. At the core of the story, it is about family. For me at least, the one person you can always count is family. Writers often draw upon inspiration from their real lives and I suppose that’s what I did. If I wanted to go on a great adventure there is no one else I would want more by my side than my sister. That is the reason why I found it so important for Torin, Jaydar and Kalani to have such a good relationship. When things get really bad and events spiral out of control, they are there to pick each other up. Being royalty and growing up in the palace, they would have had to choose their friends very carefully, so that’s why when they are in trouble they turn to each other first. But during the series, they make some pretty great friends too. Also the twins, Alex and Aurora, have a strong bond that is on a whole other level too. For the two of them, they are all each other has ever had. They rely on one another more than any of the other characters. They know what each other is thinking from just a glance, and there is nothing they wouldn’t do for the other. And they are always on the same side. So I think one of the most important elements to me in The Fire Song Chronicles is definitely the close relationships between siblings, who would go to the ends of the Earth (or the galaxy) for each other, and those strong blood ties.
 
Some of my favourite books with siblings: – The Hardy Boys Mysteries by Franklin. W. Dixon – The Selection Series by Kiera Cass – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater Happy reading everyone!
– Atlanta
 

About Author:

Hi, I’m Atlanta Bushnell! 

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I live in a seaside suburb in Melbourne, Australia. I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Education at university to be a primary school teacher, so I divide my time between studying for my course and writing my novels, which means at times I have to write late at night and sometimes even into the early hours of the morning. Any spare time I have left over I usually spend with friends and family who are a constant inspiration and encouragement. Any other spare time I have I leave for my music, drawings and of course a good book.

The Fire Song Chronicles is available now!

Book 1: Rise of the Erifs

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Book 2: Secrets in the Ice

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I’m currently writing the third book in the series.

Follow us on Instagram @atlantabushnellbooks for more information and updates

 

Giveaway:

Atlanta Bushnell is hosting a giveaway, where you can win a Signed Paperback.

Hurry and Sign up now

Here

 

Posted in reviews

Lulu’s Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves — Book Review

** I received the e-ARC for this book in exchange for an honest review**

Blurb:

There is nothing Lulu loves more than dancing by herself. With each new song, she practices the “Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves.” She slides her feet, claps her hands, and bumps her hips against a tree trunk.

There is just one problem. Lulu is a gorilla! When she stamps her feet and shakes the trees, she ends up disturbing all the other animals in her jungle home. Poor Squin Squirrel cannot even sip his nut tea without Lulu’s dancing rattling his tree home. Squin and the other animals try to tell Lulu that her dancing is disruptive, but they cannot get through to the gorilla.

Then, Lulu’s loud music and dancing ends up waking up the mighty king of the jungle. The angry lion Jhawfors then confronts Lulu with the problem. Will the animals be able to find a compromise?

This rhyming children’s tale imparts valuable lessons to young readers. Lulu does not want to stop doing what she loves, but she needs to understand that her actions affect others. Through Lulu, children will learn the importance of respect, compassion, and compromise.

Review:

It is perfect for 2-4 year kids. The illustrations are cutesy and colourful and bright that will easily attract baby, inquisitive eyes. The story-telling is in sing-song style, with rhyming words in every alternate line. The sing-song is also attractive for babies, so this book will be a great pastime.

Rating: 4/5

Posted in reviews

Into the Light — book review

** I received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review **

Blurb:

Into the Light is a memoir-inspired poetry collection in seven parts. 

The book shares the author’s life from a transformative perspective of being in a deep state of darkness to finding hope, miracles and light. In the final part, there are notes to the reader and finding one’s inner peace after adversity. 

This book explores trauma, abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, loss, healing, spirituality, meditation, inspiration and empowerment.


Review:

A memoir in a poetry form, an amazing idea. The poems are written in simple words, blank verse. You will easily connect to these poems — a series of long, short poems, at times it’s just a few couplets. But these give the narrative the apt emphasis wherever necessary. 

The journey portrayed is beautiful, touching and from being sad and painful, it becomes hopeful. 
My Rating: 4.5/5

Posted in reviews

The Duchess – Book Review

**  I have received a proof copy in exchange for an honest review . Thank you so much PanMacmillan India**

Blurb:

The incomparable Danielle Steel breaks new ground as she takes us to nineteenth-century England, where a high-born young woman is forced out into the world–and begins a journey of survival, sensuality, and long-sought justice.

Angelique Latham has grown up at magnificent Belgrave Castle under the loving tutelage of her father, the Duke of Westerfield, after the death of her aristocratic French mother. At eighteen she is her father’s closest, most trusted child, schooled in managing their grand estate. But when he dies, her half-brothers brutally turn her out, denying her very existence. Angelique has a keen mind, remarkable beauty, and an envelope of money her father pressed upon her. To survive, she will need all her resources–and one bold stroke of fortune.

Unable to secure employment without references or connections, Angelique desperately makes her way to Paris, where she rescues a young woman fleeing an abusive madam–and suddenly sees a possibility: Open an elegant house of pleasure that will protect its women and serve only the best clients. With her upper-class breeding, her impeccable style, and her father’s bequest, Angelique creates Le Boudoir, soon a sensational establishment where powerful men, secret desires, and beautiful, sophisticated women come together. But living on the edge of scandal, can she ever make a life of her own–or regain her rightful place in the world?

From England to Paris to New York, Danielle Steel captures an age of upheaval and the struggles of women in a male-ruled society–and paints a captivating portrait of a woman of unquenchable spirit, who in houses great or humble is every ounce a duchess.

Review:

I’m totally in awe of the protagonist Angelique, such mental strength, self-confidence, determination, courage. The era in which this book is set, these traits are rare in women. Beautifully written, I myself could feel the frustration that Angelique was feeling, in spite of being from an aristocratic family, she had to live a lowly life, only because she was neither a first-born nor a son of the Duke. I found myself raging at the hypocritic society that allowed a woman to sit on the throne, because she’s royal and the others can’t even inherit a penny from their father’s earnings.

The storytelling, characterisations, twists and turns were brilliant.

My first Danielle Steel read and I LOVED it.

My Rating: 5/5

Posted in reviews

Blowfish – Book Review

** I have received a review copy from Bloombury India in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Bloomsbury **

Blurb:

Mukund and Chaddha spend their days comfortably ensconced in their cushy jobs, wallowing in regrets that make for good conversation. Mukund, in a fit of bravado. resigns to pursue his “calling”; the only hitch is that he doesn’t know what it is yet! Chaddha is fired and seeks solace in shooting pigeons at point-blank range.
Mukund’s life spirals out of control when Colonel Harpal Singh, the housing society secretary, finds in him a reflection of his estranged son. Harpal places Mukund under “house arrest”, puts him on trial in a kangaroo court and coerces him to fight a ludicrous duel.
Constantly under threat, and running out of time and money, Mukund is about to go back to being a man with bad dandruff, a small car and even smaller dreams, when he meets Suman, a girl who, like him, is trying to figure out what life is all about.

Blowfish is a fast, funny and irreverent take on the overhyped pursuit of passion in a country where flashy cars and posh bungalows remain the only lasting symbols of success and happiness.

Review:

In my view, this book can be a good lazy read after you have read 3-4 heavy duty books, with too many metaphors or mind-boggling action or a flamboyant display of fantastical elements, back-to-back. Its simple, funny, fast-paced, realistic — sob story of all youth in India, who don’t want to grow up but they have, slightly haywire that we tend to be. One can very much connect with the different characters, a college topper gets lost in the corporate race; a temperamental punjabi; a stubborn yet whinny old dad; nosy, dominating society head; over caring mother; a confused first timer dad; a pregnant woman on severe mood swing. You’re in for a hilarious, ‘face-palm’-ing ride.

My Rating: 4/5

Posted in reviews

A Window to her Dreams — Book Review

** I have received a review copy of this book. Thank you Writers Melon and Readomania**

Blurb

Aruna, a young divorcee, marries Bhuvan, an averagely successful young man. Both make promises of ever after with preconceived expectations—hers, freedom from a judgmental society and validation of herself and his, unconditional love and partnership.

Despite their best intentions, life plays rogue.

On the one hand, Aruna’s learned conditioning, developed as a result of her past, keeps coming in the way of their married normalcy and on the other, Bhuvan cannot fathom the signs of her distress.

Their good intentions are tried at every step until the day when Aruna’s past revisits her. Bhuvan’s silences, Aruna’s distrust and the resurrection of her troublesome past lead to a downward spiral in their life that shakes Aruna to the core.

As she stands on the precipice of a second failed marriage, Aruna tries one last time to take control of her life, something she had willingly surrendered last time.
Does she succeed in saving her marriage? Or is she held back by her own apprehensions, choosing to stay victim?

Review

What I was most mesmerised about this book was, apart from the characters’ PoVs, there is a limited omnipresent narrative of the Sharma haveli Anwar, giving a bird’s eye view of the Sharma family, especially the woman of the house Uma and her eldest daughter Aruna.

This is a book with no fairy tale, no make-belief, no feel-good elements. It is a blatant truth of a woman’s life. One wrong decision, your life is tainted for good. Marital life can be a bliss or a curse, depends on who you decide to spend with. Aruna’s first marriage was a nightmare, Singh’s style of writing will make you feel that nightmare for yourself.

That anxiety, that fear she bears during her first marriage, is sure to intimidate you against the institution of marriage. But the second marriage will make you realise, that marital life solely depends on your choices, your priorities and your determination and dedication.

I loved the storytelling and the characterisations — an apt depiction of a normal Indian middle-class family trying to make ends meet, fighting for one’s dreams.

 

My Rating: 5/5

Posted in reviews

Awaken — Book Review

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** I had received an ARC from the Publisher in exchange of an honest review. Thank You Pan Macmillan India**

Blurb:

The Haters are coming to destroy all life on Earth. It is not a question of if, but when. 

The Brahmaand has already rung the warning bell and the awakening of the Preservers has begun. Kiara unexpectedly finds her skin covered with golden fur and her sense of smell extraordinarily enhanced; Saumya is suddenly able to go from Ahmedabad to New York in just a step; and Sia’s songs have the power to do things she had never imagined possible.

First in the thrilling Shakti Trilogy set in contemporary India, Ashok Banker’s action-packed and brilliantly imagined Awaken introduces our unlikely heroes who must discover and harness their superpowers before they can protect and preserve the Earth from the wrath of a menacing alien invasion.

Review:

The plot is interesting — India is lacking in superheroes and no superheroines, here we get not 1 but 3 superheroines.

There is a lot of reality in the fantasy, be it the description of Delhi, Gujrat, Nairobi or Nagaland. I’m glad the author chose the North East part of the country to place one of his central characters. Majority of us Indians fail to acknowledge the Seven Sister states to be a part our country, but they are. None of can imagine what turmoil they go through– while the rest of the country has got independence from the British and Nazi has been quashed from the world, but states like Nagaland are tortured by fellow Indians— this issue should be highlighted to the world and should be stopped. I’m happy that this issue has got some limelight through this book.

Characterisation is commendable, 3 ordinary young girls all of a sudden becoming not so ordinary and then they realise they exist for a purpose. There is a strong transgender character who is loved and cared for, really touched me. Transgenders are also humans, its just a genetic abnormality, none of the individual’s fault, they shouldn’t be shuned for the game genes have played.

I’m in awe with Saumya’s power of “Popping”. I wish I could Pop around the world.

Story build-up was brilliant, I was in anticipation of what is about to happen next.

I am a little sad that this book had to end when the real action was just starting.

I can’t wait to read the next book Assemble.

Rating: 4/5

Posted in Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal: Awaken by Ashok Banker

It gives me great pleasure to reveal the cover Ashok Banker’s upcoming book Awaken published by Pan Macmillan India.


AWAKEN
Ashok K. Banker

THE SHAKTI TRILOGY BOOK I

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9789386215161 | Paperback | Rs 299

 

The Haters are coming to destroy all life on Earth. It is not a question of if, but when. 

The Brahmaand has already rung the warning bell and the awakening of the Preservers has begun. Kiara unexpectedly finds her skin covered with golden fur and her sense of smell extraordinarily enhanced; Saumya is suddenly able to go from Ahmedabad to New York in just a step; and Sia’s songs have the power to do things she had never imagined possible.

First in the thrilling Shakti Trilogy set in contemporary India, Ashok Banker’s action-packed and brilliantly imagined Awaken introduces our unlikely heroes who must discover and harness their superpowers before they can protect and preserve the Earth from the wrath of a menacing alien invasion.

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Ashok Banker is the internationally acclaimed author of over sixty published books which have sold over three million copies in twenty-one languages and sixty-one countries. He has been credited as the pioneer of Indian crime fiction in English and with launching the genre of mythological retellings, India’s biggest-selling publishing category. As a journalist, he broke front-page news for Times of India, Outlook and The Week. As a screenwriter, he created and wrote India’s first TV series in English, A Mouthful of Sky. Ashok is of Irish-Portuguese-Sri Lankan-Indian parentage, and lived in India for over fifty-one years before migrating permanently to the United States. Awaken is the first book in the Shakti Trilogy.

 

The Shakti Trilogy continues with Book II ASSEMBLE (November 2017) and Book III ARISE (January 2018).

Posted in reviews

i, HOLMES — Book Review

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** I have received an e-ARC of this graphic novel from the publisher**

Blurb:

Everyone has a secret. Hers can get her killed and she doesn’t even know what it is.

She was born with no parents and no name. Fighting to survive in a world of danger and intrigue is nothing new to i Rose who lives by her wits on the streets of New York, but after discovering that she’s being targeted as the descendant of someone world famous who she’s never met, i Rose realizes that life is about to become even more complicated.

Review:

It took me some time to get a hang of it. The beginning was a little here and there — Some random card game, a girl disguised as a man, a train suddenly blows up, a unicorn masked man, the aforementioned girl is a vigilante in the eyes of the cops, parrol officer — it took time to make sense out of it. Gradually, things started to make sense and the plot gained momentum, but just then, The End. I am like, “Am I missing something? How is it the end now?” But it was it. I hope the sequel is out soon.

iRose is quite of a tricky character to understand, that’s the highlight of this book. Generally females are typecasted and highly predictable.

I really want to read more of Sherlock Holmes-Irene Adler affair.

My Rating:

3.8/5

Posted in reviews

The Legend of the Washo Gold — Book Review

*I received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange of an honest review*


Blurb:

To prevent a repeat of the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Hank, a modern day Native American Indian, overcomes his doubts about his tribe’s ancient religion and leads a war party to recover a cursed Indian treasure.

Succumbing to the genocide brought down upon them during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush, the Washo Indians were teetering on the brink of extinction. With the help of a mysterious stranger, they devised an ingenious plan to survive. Many years later, when the secret of their survival is threatened, the tribe appoints a modern day warrior to lead a war party to San Francisco to recover stolen Indian treasure and secure the secret of the Washo Gold.

This novel enables the reader to experience the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush from the perspective of a tribe of Native American Indians who lived through it.

Review:

The folklore, that is the centre of attraction of this book, is quite interesting, eerie and exotic. The first few chapters are bit confusing as each chapter brings in a new character, a new side story, so that tends to put the reader on a slump. But once these converge into the central story-line, it will catch the reader’s attention. The clash between folklore and reality and also heritage and greed has been very impressively depicted in this book.

It feels good to read folklores from different nooks and corners of the world so that’s the plus point of the theme chosen. Its rustic, queer and altogether fantastical.

My Rating- 3.9/5 🌟

Posted in short stories

Compelled

This was published in Barefoot Sunshine magazine March 2017 edition.

I’m glad to announce that this short fiction has won a Commendable Mention in WingWord Short Story Prize 2017 hosted and organised by Delhi Poetry Slam.


 

 It’s been a century I’m stuck in this vault, no flesh to feed on, no air to breath. But I’m immortal, I may disintegrate but absence of air or food cannot kill me. It’s a boon or bane, I don’t know. There’s no one around, it’s all dark here. My so-called sister has never bothered to come looking for me, forget about rescuing me from this hell-hole.
It seems I’m destined to be alone. When I was born (some 250 years ago), I was loved by my parents and my siblings. The neighbours too adored me. But when I was 6 years old, people started finding me weird. Because I could read their minds. Then I could control their minds. I wasn’t even aware I could do it!!! But they were scared of me. They hated me. They said I’m an evil witch, messing with people’s heads. I had become an abomination to the people who once loved me. My parents, together with the villagers, tied me to a boat and set me off to the sea to starve, drown and die. I cried and pleaded. Begged for mercy. But everyone turned deaf ear. Even my older brother Jeremiah, who had pledged to protect me from all harm, was on their side. He hated me too. Before the unforgiving nature could touch me, something already died in me.
I sailed across the sea, alone, scared and heartbroken. As expected, I was starving. There was nothing around but water which I couldn’t even drink. Hungry and thirsty, I awaited my death. At night, a huge storm arose and my boat was in pieces. I should have been dead but destiny had something else in store for me.
When I opened my eyes I found myself in a desolate island. I walked around looking for food. At the first sight of wild fruits, I pounced on them, only to regret. I was nauseated and passed out. When I opened my eyes, a girl, of almost my age, was sitting beside me, trying to make me drink something that seemed to be some herb concoction. “Where am I? Who are you?”, I asked, sitting up. “I’m Ligeia and you’re in the island of Capreae,” the stranger replied, “I found you unconscious so I brought you to my cave. The symptoms said you had consumed the wild berries. So I was feeding you the antidote concoction. What is your name?” “I’m Molpe. Why are you in this desolate island?” “For the very reason you’re here. I’m a siren as well.” Siren? So that’s what I’m called? “They pushed you out too?” I asked “We’re in the same boat of ill-fate, little sister,” came the reply. The moment Ligeia uttered “little sister”, all my fears disappeared, I felt secure, did not know why.
From that moment on, Ligeia and I were inseparable, we would spend our days foraging the forest and nights narrating to each other exotic stories. We opened our hearts to each other. But, whenever I foraged the forest, there would be hardly anything edible, then how could she prepare food for us every day? There was something she was hiding. The answer came soon.
One dawn I woke up to find Ligeia missing. I went out looking for her. She was at the sea shore, staring at a passing ship. Then she started hummimg — a tune I had never heard before. The ship, as if in response, deflected from its route and approached our island. Clueless about what was happening, I just kept staring at the ship and my sister. The ship arrived at the shore and the crew bowed to Ligeia. I couldn’t make sense to anything. And then, Ligeia did something I could never even dream of. She drowned those five shipmen and stripped their bodies of their flesh!!!
Before she could see me, I ran back to our cave and curled up in the corner. She had roasted the very pieces of flesh she had extracted and served them to me as lunch!! My sister had made a cannibal out of me!!! A sharp chill crawled down my spine. I immediately walked out of the cave towards the shore. “Molpe wait!”, she called out, trying to catch up with me, “Where are you going?” I wouldn’t answer, I wouldn’t stop for a second. Out of the blue, in front of me, a strong gust of wind arose and brought with it a tall, dark, bald man, clad in a white robe.
I was dumbstruck, kept staring at him, eyes filled with fear. “Don’t be scared my dear, I’m here to help you”, said the stranger with a calming tone in his voice. For a moment, neither Ligeia nor I uttered a word. At last, Ligeia, breaking the silence, asked, “Who are you?” “Ligeia, my child, you know me well. I am the one whose tale you were narrating to your little sister last night”, came the reply. “L-Lord A-A-Arcadius, the ruler of Hell?” I gasp.
Lord Arcadius was also a simple saintly man once upon a time, many many years ago. He was a peaceful man but with powers not everyone could comprehend. He could read minds and see the future. But what the world does not understand, it tries to crush that. And they burned him alive. He then vowed to burn all the humans with even a pinch of sin in them. From then, he became, the Lord of Hell.

“Yes, my child, I know you have been wronged and who better than me can understand that”, said the Lord, his tone never changing, “What if…. I told you, that you could get to avenge the injustices bestowed on you by those conspiring humans and also help me in my revenge” “H-How c-can we do t-that, my Lord?” I asked, “I will take you under my wing, the two of you, my little siren warriors, will find the evillest of humans residing in this world and feed their souls to me, you get to feed on their flesh and remain ever young. Also, other than me, no one can bring about your death.” I looked at my sister, trying to decipher what was going on in her head. She looked at me and then at Lord Arcadius and said, “My Lord, my sister and I submit ourselves to your protection.”
We were sent back to the big wide world that condemned us, ready to avenge our injustice, until I was caught unguarded by a Salem witch attempting to wipe out her clan, and locked up in this vault I am now in, before she breathed her last. Since then I have been here. I tried to attract humans, when a secret museum for supernatural artefacts was being built around the vault, to open it. But no one could. It was I who wiped out the Salem witches, the only key to my freedom.
After a long wait, someone does open the vault, and I see him. He was looking for somebody or something. Maybe me. Something happens to me. I feel something like never before. All these years I had been only a servant of Lord Arcadius and everyone around me, potential preys. But this man, David, is changing everything. His soul is not fully white, not fully dark, he’s perfectly like the yin-yang. I need him, but he’s hard to get. I scan him for his weakness, a girl… I want the same love, care, affection that he showers on her, so I lure him with his weakness. I mind control him to serve me, to be my evil-hunting machine and feed me with flesh till I come back to my old form.
He is very loyal, I fall for him more and more. After two whole months I regain my form. Lord Arcadius has not only bestowed me with immortality but also with unmatched beauty. But David does not get attracted to me. He serves me only to escape hell, he feels nothing for me, like I do for him. I don’t want to control him, I try to bestow on him all the love and care I have, but he just looks through me and walks off. He only serves me; He even gave up his home, his family. But he cannot see or feel my love. This hurts me even more. This hurt is turning into uncontrollable anger. He has forced me to give him pain and compel him. I get into his mind to see what it is that makes him resist me. I see a girl, an innocent soul, whose beauty surpasses mine in his eyes. She selflessly loves him, would even die for him. Jealously boils in me like a raging volcano. I attempt to remove all memories of this girl so he can see only me and no one else. As I try to remove his memories, his resistance begins to grow powerful! The more I try, more powerful it becomes. Never before has any man been strong enough to fight me. I keep trying and he keeps resisting until he throws me out of his mind palace.
This infuriates me thousand folds. I will take what’s mine, either by hook or by crook. “You will go and kill whoever this Amara is,” I compel his psyche to obey. He pushes me away and says, “No, I won’t kill her. I’ve never before questioned your command, but this time, I won’t do as you say.” “You do know the consequences of defying me, don’t you? ” I growl. ” Ahh!!!” He kneels in front of me, wincing in pain as I play havoc with his brain. “I don’t care about consequences any more. You may mess up with my head as much as you want to but nothing can stop me from loving her. You want me to forget her and love YOU? A cannibal of a woman who can just inflict pain deserves only hatred and disgust. You may have impeccable beauty but my Amara is an angel incarnate. I can kill you, but her? Never”, he says with gritted teeth. “You can never kill me!!” As a reply, he stabs me with a knife, “At least I can die trying”, and walks out. 
After a few moments, I gain consciousness.  The entire day has passed by and he hasn’t returned. The pang of betrayal hits me like thunderclap. Where is he? Maybe I know where he might be. I will regain what’s mine.
I set out to look for the wretched woman who tries to steal the love of my life. I intend to wipe out her existence in front of David. I want to break him, so that I re-build him to be mine and mine only. I at last find her, in a small, desolate hut, in one corner of the village of Fernweh. Amara, the prickly tiny thorn in my path of happiness. I try to call him with our psychic bond, “Come my dear David, see your love, before I kill her” “You won’t lay a finger on her, you bitch! “, came the angry reply.  And then the church bell rings…
“Ah!!! What is this happening?”, “Look up, behind you”, was the reply from the other side of the bond. I turn to see David standing at the Bell Tower, but it’s not the church bell but the Salem bell. 
Made by the Salem witches in the 18th Century, the Salem bell is THE ultimate weapon to destroy us sirens. That’s why I had to wipe out their existence. But not before they arranged for me being stuck in that hell-hole. 
 Ding!! “AAHHHHH!! Where did you get that bell?”, I say, writhing in a sharp headache. “The girl you want to kill belongs to a family of Salem witches. You think you’re invinscible? I doubt,” he chuckles with such a malice! “David, no! Don’t do this to me, love” “You shouldn’t have come near Amara, Molpe,”said David, “you made me kill numerous people. You bathed me in blood. Because of you, Amara despises me. My first step for redemption is to burn you out of our lives. Nine…” Ding! “Ten…” Ding!! “Eleven…” Ding! “Goodbye Molpe, rot in hell!” “AHHHHRRRRGGGHHHH!!!”
The eleventh ring lit up hell fire on me. Today I actually become an abomination. An evil witch who deserves nothing but hatred. The fire soon engulfs me into hell only to keep burning on and on in my master’s kingdom.